Opera in the 20th century: Flight

thu 30 jan 2020

Flight by Jonathan Dove
You know Spielberg? Pretty much everyone knows his film ‘The Terminal’ (2004) with Tom Hanks. The story is about a man who gets stuck at an airport because he’s denied entry into the US. He can’t go back to his own country either because a revolution has broken out there during his flight.

But did you know that an opera had been made years earlier on this story? It’s the opera ‘The Flight’ (1998) by the British composer Jonathan Dove. Film and opera are based on the true story of the Iranian Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who from 1988 lived for 18 years (!) in Terminal 1 of airport Charles de Gaulle in Paris. After his identity papers were stolen, Nasseri became trapped in the international zone behind the Customs. In 1999 his lawyer arranged a French residence permit, but Nasseri didn’t want to leave the terminal. That finally happened in 2006, when he had to go to hospital for an unknown illness.

The first performance of Dove’s opera was in 1999, but 2004 is regarded as its premiere year. That was when the opera was performed again during the prestigious Glyndebourne Opera Festival.

Recorded rcording: Jonathan Dove- Flight. London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by. David Parry.
With among others Mary Plazas (soprano), Richard Coxon (tenor), Claron McFadden (soprano), and Christopher Robson as Mehran (countertenor). Chandos Records CHAN 10197 (2004).